The Village Fine Arts Association is a non-profit with a happy history of building and seeking engagement to provide opportunities for artists and arts enrichment in our community and beyond. It is located in an Art Deco restoration space next to River’s Edge Brewing Co at 125 S. Main Street, downtown Milford. Our place of business is the Suzanne Haskew Arts Center, better known as the SHAC. The mission of the SHAC to serve as a community arts center where artists of all ages and skill levels can practice, share, teach, showcase and inspire others through their craft.
The VFAA’s SHAC offers a range of art classes, revolving gallery exhibitions and a gift shop, studio rentals for artists, birthday pARTies for kids and adults, space rentals for community and private events. The VFAA and The SHAC are dedicated and driven to provide equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender identity or disability in all of our programs, services and activities. Art and artistic expression are truly for everyone. We deeply encourage you to join us.
Our efforts depend on our community for support. Your donations, volunteer time, and participation keep this non-profit strong. Thank you always for your support! The VFAA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization since 1992 and your donation is tax deductible.
Our non-profit activity is supported through grants and financial support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Foundation and Milford Township. We are extremely grateful for their support.
Exploring creative expression is for everyone. Whether you are interested in exploring different art mediums for yourself, taking a workshop to expand your knowledge, want to know more about the art world, or are a seasoned veteran willing to go further in your creative journey, you can join others and take your interest to the next level. OR maybe as a local business, you would like to partner with the VFAA and reflect your support of the arts in the Huron Valley area of Milford and the neighboring areas.
VFAA members include potters, weavers, oil painters, watercolorists, pastelists, acrylic painters, carvers, poets, musicians, photographers, sculptors, fabric artists…the list is endless and varied.
The Village Fine Arts Association began in 1992, with the knowledge that there was a great need for the numerous artists in the Greater Milford Area to have an outlet to explore, expand and share their love of art.
The History of the VFAA
From the beginning, we have been a 100% volunteer organization. The community has been our venue, with meetings and events held at various locations around town: free lectures at the Milford Presbyterian Church, art shows at Milford Public Library and the Huron Valley Council for the Arts, gallery space at local businesses such as The Blue Grill and Caribou Coffee, and facilitating community projects at Huron Valley Hospital, the Healing Arts program at Henry Ford Hospital and The Learning Center.
What began as an assortment of different artists getting together in coffee shops or in each other’s homes has grown into a thriving and active group of over one hundred artists, with a mailing list of over 425 other art-minded people in the Huron Valley area. VFAA is characterized as stimulating and welcoming.
In April 2012, the opportunity arose for dreaming bigger. We were offered funding in the name of Suzanne Haskew, one of our founding members. We were asked, “What is your vision for the future?”
Realizing a Dream
The VFAA board of directors labored long and hard about what to do in her memory. Our conversations kept coming back again and again to having our own space, which has been the VFAA’s dream since the beginning. We would call that space the VFAA Suzanne Haskew Art Center, a.k.a. The S.H.A.C., and we hope it becomes a special jewel not only in the Village of Milford, but to surrounding communities as well.
An essential part of our vision was to provide a service that no other art organization in the area is already offering. Currently, there are galleries, artist co-ops and the Huron Valley Council for the Arts (HVCA) supplying the usual art opportunities. Upon asking local artists, parents of creative children, and especially young adult artists (high school through college graduates) what they would like to see in the Milford area with regards to the arts, we kept hearing the same word over and over again: a PLACE to create art. A PLACE to congregate with fellow artists, to share each other’s creative work, ideas and inspiration. A PLACE where kids can get the art education that the schools struggle to provide. A PLACE for my studio other than my basement, attic, closet, dining room table, etc. And it will continue being a home for our already well-established programs (lectures, art shows, workshops,).
Research has revealed several models already in operation around the country that meet the above mentioned criteria, and the Village of Milford currently has no community space for creative, visual art endeavors. We believe that adding this element to the VFAA while collaborating with businesses and programs already offered in the area provides the Milford Village with an important community asset. We believe the SHAC helps nearby businesses with increased traffic while working as an “anchor” to help support the area in which we are located. All the while, continuing to serve our current mission and do so in a unique, community-based way.
For over two decades, the VFAA has been a magnet to the Village of Milford. Even though the group was founded and is headquartered in Milford, most of our membership and event participants come from various neighboring communities. Milford benefits greatly when they do because they dine at the local restaurants and shop at the stores. Many were first introduced to our beautiful Milford public library by participating in our annual spring Poetry Art Night event. In conjunction with other activities, we set up our artwork to entice residents and visitors to the downtown area and enhance community events. We’ve already been doing this for years. It’s time we did that better, too. A place of our own was the next step, and in the spring of 2014, the Suzanne Haskew Art Center (SHAC) was opened.
Watch this video with former SHAC Director, now Board Member, Andrea Perry.